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Roberto Di Cosmo

Roberto Di Cosmo is an Italian computer scientist, software researcher, and free software advocate, widely recognized for his contributions to the free and open-source software (FOSS) movement.

Education and Academic Career: Roberto Di Cosmo earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pisa, Italy. He has held academic positions at various institutions, including the University of Pisa and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Since 1999, he has been a professor at the University Paris Diderot, where he has focused on research in functional programming, formal methods, and software engineering. In 2010, he founded IRILL, the Innovation and research initiative for free software. In 2016, he founded the Software Heritage project, which aims to collect, preserve, and share the source code of all publicly available software.

Free Software Advocacy: Roberto Di Cosmo has been a strong advocate for free software and open-source principles throughout his career. He has written extensively on the subject, including the influential pamphlets “Piège dans le cyberespace” et “Le hold-up planétaire”. He has also been actively involved in various initiatives and organizations that promote FOSS, such as AFUL and the GTLL.

Free Software Development: Roberto Di Cosmo made a significant contribution to the Linux ecosystem through the creation of DemoLinux. DemoLinux was the first “live” Linux distribution, developed between 2000 and 2002. This innovative distribution allowed users to experience Linux by booting the operating system directly from a CD-ROM without needing to install it on their computers. DemoLinux eliminated the barrier for users who were hesitant to try Linux due to the potential complexity or risk of installing a new operating system. By providing a live distribution that could be easily run without affecting the user’s existing system, Di Cosmo and his team made Linux more accessible to a wider audience. This concept was groundbreaking at the time and laid the foundation for many live Linux distributions that followed, such as Knoppix, Ubuntu Live, and Fedora Live.

Software Heritage: One of Di Cosmo’s most significant contributions to the FOSS community is the creation of the Software Heritage project. This ambitious, non-profit initiative aims to build a universal archive of all publicly available software source code, serving as a digital library and a resource for researchers, developers, and historians. The project has attracted support from various organizations, including UNESCO, which recognizes the importance of preserving software as a critical part of our shared digital heritage.

In summary, Roberto Di Cosmo is a highly respected figure in both the academic and free software communities. Through his research, advocacy, and the creation of the Software Heritage project, he has played a significant role in advancing the cause of free and open-source software and ensuring the preservation of software source code for future generations.

Page last modified: 2023-05-06 16:44:40